Companions of blind should have free travel

Nigel Don, MSP for Angus North and Mearns has asked train operators to enable those who are very blind, and those who are deaf-blind, to be accompanied by a companion who travels free.

At Holyrood on Thursday Mr Don said: “If someone required a companion with them, that person would not travel free, unless they themselves were eligible travel free. They might get a discount, depending on their local authority area, and they might get a substantial discount if they had an appropriate card, by dint of age or other issues.

“I am struck by the fact that the cost of someone occupying a seat on a train outwith commuter times is, for all practical purposes, zero … if that seat would otherwise be empty, the cost to the railway of its being occupied is, in fact, zero. It seems to me, therefore, that there is a clear case for saying to the railway operators that someone with severe disabilities who needs a companion to get out should be able to take that companion with them for free.”

Mr Don will raise the issue with the Minister for Transport and Veterans as well continuing dialogue with train companies.